North Malé Atoll, Maldives

Photo: Baros Maldives
Photo: Baros Maldives

Congratulations! After nearly a year of planning and coordinating, you pulled off the biggest party of your life and married the man of your dreams in the process. Your wedding—at least what you remember of it—was more fun than you ever expected. The organization? Not so much. But your headaches about seating charts, matching shades of blue, and do-not-play lists are over. Now, it’s time for you—and your better half—to relax. In paradise.

No place does honeymoons quite like the Maldives. The archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean is made up of nearly 1,200 coral islands. About 200 of them are inhabited. Some are home to small resorts. That’s right, the entire island is a resort. Once you arrive, you don’t have to worry about the Disney-like playground on one side of the beach, the nudist hotel on the other, and the late-night club that seems to pop up with the full moon. So go ahead, pick your island.

Baros Maldives was one of the first resorts in the Maldives. It’s been owned by the same family since opening in 1973. Don’t worry, it’s been updated and modernized many times over. Though the welcoming and pampering attitude remains the same. After landing at Malé International Airport, jump on a speedboat for a quick, 20-minute ride to the resort. You see empty sandbanks, endless turquoise water, and dolphins along the way. And then coconut palms, a white-sand beach, and overwater bungalows start to come into view. You’re already in love. Again.

Photo: Baros Maldives
Photo: Baros Maldives

Having preregistered, you’re escorted right to your villa upon arrival. You try to maintain your composure as you’re checked in and given a quick tour, but you practically squeal with delight once the two of you are finally alone. Your sandstone-and-timber villa has a teak floor, an open-air bathroom, and an outdoor rain shower surrounded by thick vegetation. The room is flooded with natural light. When you slide open the glass doors, you see a sun deck and two loungers. In front of you: the sun-kissed beach and the barely blue because it’s so clear water.

For the first few days, you hardly leave your villa. It is your honeymoon, after all. The room is stocked with an espresso machine, an iPod dock, a wine chiller, and yoga mats. Meals can be eaten anywhere, so you’ve had breakfast in bed, lunch on the beach, and dinner under the stars. But maybe it’s time to check out the rest of the island. After sleeping in late, make an appointment in the spa’s tropical garden for a cooling sun-calmer wrap. Glide over the water in a transparent Molokini canoe. Snorkel among the house reef just offshore. You might see a whitetip reef shark slither through the coral. And scuba dive at the nearby Black Coral Reef. Barracudas, stingrays, and usually a nurse shark hang out near the steep walls.

Later, sip a sundowner, eat canapés, and listen to live jazz at the Lighthouse Lounge. The overwater building has a white-sail pinnacle roof, and the dark spots in the water might be baby sharks. Split a tandoori seafood platter under the thatched-palm gazebo at the Cayenne Grill. And claim a hammock in Sails’ palm garden for a nightcap after dinner.

Tomorrow, repeat. The next day, repeat. Mix things up by having sunset cocktails on a traditional dhoni sailboat or dinner on an empty sandbank. Maybe you’ll go windsurfing, if the air changes. And you’ll figure out how to use your underwater camera by the time you see schooling bannerfish and surgeonfish at the Alibaba Reef. This is the best wedding present you could have given yourself.

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